Latent Heat

By (author): Catherine Hunter

Catherine Hunter articulates complex questions with utter simplicity, releasing the passion that often lies beneath surfaces of our ordinary lives, and guiding us, through subtle connections on many levels, until we “can hear the city breathe.” Latent Heat presents a surprisingly full and lyrical exploration of the lives we live together in this place, the suffering, the confusion, and those evanescent moments that sustain us.


Catherine Hunter

Poet and novelist Catherine Hunter has published three collections of poetry, Necessary Crimes, Lunar Wake, and Latent Heat (which won the Manitoba Book of the Year Award); three thrillers, Where Shadows Burn, The Dead of Midnight, and Queen of Diamonds (Ravenstone Press); the novella In the First Early Days of My Death; and the spoken word CD Rush Hour (Cyclops Press), which includes a bonus track featuring The Weakerthans. Two of her novels have been translated into German. Her essays, reviews, and poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including Essays on Canadian Writing, The Malahat Review, West Coast Line, Prairie Fire, CV2, The Echoing Years: Contemporary Poetry from Canada and Ireland, and Best Canadian Poems 2013. She edited Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier, and for ten years she was the editor of The Muses’ Company press. She teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Winnipeg.


“Catherine Hunter grew up in Winnipeg, where she listened well to the rhythm and music of the streets, supermarkets and malls. Her well-attuned ear captures this rhythm and music. In Latent Heat, she plays with it until it pirouettes onto the page in unexpected, yet hauntingly appropriate and beautiful images. Latent Heat is a work of exceptional poetic inspiration and ability. Hunter combines the talent and technique of the storyteller with the finely chiselled images of the poet. Lovers of poetry will sink into the cool, clear waters of Hunter’s vision, never once asking to come up for air. But those who aren’t will also find much to enjoy. Meaning here is not buried under mountains of words. It floats on the surface of magnificently flowing lines.” —The Winnipeg Free Press


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Excerpts & Samples ×
13 Lines in Order to Forget You a scientist draws a picture of the brain on the blackboard, she labels the memory with a piece of chalk a doctor raises his hand, a question flutters on the tip of his tongue what were we talking about again? meanwhile, a patient with amnesia wanders down the hall and walks out of the hospital how easily you’ve slipped my mind I have forgotten you, and if I were the two-headed woman on the cover of the National Enquirer today I would forget you twice The Naked Eye (in memoriam, HJB) You are so far away, or let’s be truthful, you’ve been dead for twenty years, a synapse in the brain of the city, these streets so fractured, full of spaces. I thought I saw you again this morning, walking the maze of paths behind the planetarium, as if you remembered the time the teachers took us up there, let us read the sky. They told us any loss of matter is converted into energy. They gave us telescopes and metaphors: You disappeared at the speed of light. But some things are apparent only to the naked eye. I can stand on the Norwood Bridge and seem to touch the potent circuit of the river. Venus, small as the spurt of a penny match, appears suspended, caught in the gap of the St. Boniface cathedral’s excoriated window frame. The downtown lights are sparks the city lets go, attempting to purify itself. This city is still hot, young friend, white hot. It runs on the electricity conducted through the streets when heroes turn to constellations. It’s heat that separates the metal from the ore, because in metallurgy, as in death, beauty smoulders closer and closer to the surface of the body, becoming visible at last, setting itself free. The burnt cathedral, with its empty window open like a mouth, says, ah. The sound of finding what it’s lost. If you can see me, make some sign. Darkness is settling down, all over the suburbs, and Venus is rising. I can almost see the passion that set her blazing like a flare, an SOS, a way of saying, don’t stop looking for me. I am here.

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96 Pages
9in * 6in * .27in


December 01, 1997


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Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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